It is a ritual many drivers have engaged in since shortly after the invention of the automobile: the cleaning out of the former car to turn in as a trade-in on a newer model. I am, in a manner of speaking, between cars as my eight-year old Malibu is about to leave its’ home in the family driveway to make way for another Chevy. I made the deal at a local dealership, and I spent a good part of the weekend clearing out eight years of life inside my car.
I started in the front seat with a box and a plastic bag. The box was to save things and the bag was for throwing things away. I cleared out my bucket seat armrest where a half dozen compact discs were inside.
Underneath the driver’s seat I found a lost Blue tooth from my cell phone. I retrieved four empty water bottles from under the front passenger seat.
I worked my way to the backseat where I gathered four coat hangers, two golf balls, and about a half ream of paper from various work and non-profit volunteer assignments. There was also a throw pillow my wife would use when she drove the car.
The trunk, as you might expect, was loaded with stuff. Out came the golf clubs, pull cart, another four golf balls, a dozen golf tees, and a golfer’s organizer that my wife gave me one Father’s Day. The irony on having something to keep my golf equipment organized is not lost on me.
I also found four audio books that I must have listened to sometime over the past eight years along with a coffee cup and saucer that must have been a Secret Santa gift from work one year. These items went into a new grocery store bag designated for donation to charity. I also found two full bottles of water and two legal pads.
In the trunk, I also kept a set of snow chains that I never used and an air pump that is powered by the cigarette lighter. Both will move to the other car.
So as I was about finished with this part of the car, I had one grocery store plastic bag filled with stuff to throw away. The box of stuff to save was filled.
But on the wild chance there might be something in the spare tire well, I removed the trunk flooring where the spare is kept.
I now know that spare tire wells are where golf items go to die. Inside the well, I found three more golf balls, two golf scorecards, eight golf scoring pencils, and at least two-dozen golf tees. Add to that a dozen pens, about forty-cents in change, and a bottle of hand lotion I got from a hotel room and I was just now just about finished.
With a sweep of a broom, and a final inspection, I think the deed was done.
The Malibu was the first car I purchased in California. I had not owned a Chevy since college. I took a chance it would provide me with safe and reliable transportation during my first years in the Golden State. It did.
I drove it to Sacramento the first night I owned it. I drove it to Hollywood to see the Walk of Fame. It crossed the San Francisco Bay Bridge too many times to count. We drove it through the Rocky Mountains to visit my daughter one Christmas.
I immortalized the Malibu in the book "9 From 99- Experiences in California’s Central Valley". There’s a publisher’s note on the back of the second edition of the book that reads: “Steve Newvine has logged over 100,000 California roadways with the bulk of them on Highway 99.”
And the bulk of those 100,000 miles logged on California roads were behind the wheel of my safe and reliable Malibu.
Steve Newvine lives in Merced.